Objective To compare the cost of minimally invasive video-assisted thyroidectomy (MIVAT) with conventional thyroidectomy. Study Design A cost-effectiveness study and chart review. Setting Academic university hospital. Subjects and Methods Pediatric and adult patients referred to the Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery for suspicious thyroid nodules, goiters, or known carcinomas. A tertiary care hospital's billing department was queried for all hemithyroidectomies and total thyroidectomies completed by the Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery between January 5, 2006, and November 1, 2007. The charges, including surgery, hospital, pathology, and anesthesia, for minimally invasive video-assisted thyroidectomy (MIVAT) and traditional or minimally invasive open thyroidectomies meeting MIVAT inclusion criteria were then reviewed retrospectively and compared statistically. Results A total of 185 thyroidectomies were performed, 50.3 percent of which met criteria for MIVAT. Length of stay (days) was significantly shorter for patients undergoing MIVAT hemithyroidectomy (mean difference -0.8; 95% confidence interval [95% CI] -1.08 to -0.52) and not significantly different between groups for total thyroidectomy (mean difference 0.1; 95% CI -0.36 to 0.56). Mean anesthesia cost (U.S.$) was similar between groups for hemi- and total thyroidectomies. MIVAT mean pathology cost was significantly less than open thyroidectomy for hemithyroidectomy (mean difference -89.9; 95% CI -179.01 to -0.79) and approached significance for total thyroidectomy. There was no significant difference in hospital cost and total cost for hemithyroidectomy and total thyroidectomy. Conclusion In a group of matched cohorts, the cost of MIVAT appears to be equal to that of open thyroidectomy.
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